A Mission of the Mind 意志的考验
Six Astronauts Are Tested to the Limit 对6名宇航员的极限考验
Have you ever been on a long-haul flight? How did you pass the time? Perhaps you watched an in-flight movie or read a book.
Well it would have to be a very long book to keep you amused for 520 days. That's how long six men are going to be sealed away from humanity in a warehouse in the suburbs of Moscow from tomorrow.
No, this isn't another weird reality TV show, but an experiment from the European Space Agency and Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems to test the psychological impact of a manned mission to Mars.
The six astronauts will live in conditions approximating a real space mission. A 550-cubic-metre mock-up within the warehouse includes an interplanetary spaceship, a Mars lander and a Martian landscape.
The group of six - which includes one Chinese astronaut, Wang Yue - will work, relax and sleep in eight-hour shifts, take two days off a week and shower once every ten days.
All communication with mission control will be subject to a twenty-minute delay to reproduce the effects of distance.
After 250 days, the astronauts will divide into two groups. Three will move to the Martian surface simulator for a month while the rest will remain 'in orbit'. Then the six will be reunited for a 240-day return journey to... well, the outside world.
Throughout, the organisers of the project will use cameras to monitor everything that happens 'on board'. They will gather new information about personal stress levels, emotional well-being and group dynamics.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a scientist with the satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium, believes that the experiment will be extremely valuable. However, she points out that without the glory of being the first humans to visit the Red Planet, it could be hard for these pioneers to maintain motivation.
"It's far less likely this would be a problem if you really were going to Mars", she says. "But the danger is that because you know you're really in a hangar in Moscow, you start thinking: 'I can't be bothered'."
Glossary 词汇表 (收听发音, 请单击英语单词)
- long-haul flight长途飞行
- pass the time打发时间，消磨时间
- sealed away from humanity与人类隔离
- psychological impact心理冲击